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Meet the Patwas

Amy and Adam Patwa attended an Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat® in Orlando with their daughter, Charis, in May 2012.

“The timing of it was totally perfect,” Amy said. “I can’t walk around Magic Kingdom today.”

She was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer in summer 2010, but chemotherapy and radiation appeared to control the disease in a matter of months.

In spring 2011 Amy started having chest pains.

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Meet the Siscos

Jenifer Sisco, a teacher and mother of three from Midland, Michigan, was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in May 2011. Then came Jenifer’s first surgery after the diagnosis.

“The news we got was worse than we expected,” said Michael, Jenifer’s husband.

The surgery and further testing showed cancer had spread to Jenifer’s bones.

“It was complete shock because of how young I am and the fact I have young children,” Jenifer said.

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Meet the Spears

Kassandra Spears has battled cancer for most of her life. The 44-year-old mother of two from Port Lavaca, Texas, discovered a melanoma spot on her neck at age 15. She underwent surgery and appeared to be cured. Two decades later, Kassandra had married her husband Andy and was caring for her two kids, 12-year-old Ashley and 9-year-old Steven, when cancer came back in 2008.

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In Loving Memory of Kristen Milligan

Today we grieve the death of Kristen Milligan, co-founder of Inheritance of Hope.  Kristen died on Friday, October 26, 2012.  Hers was a life well-lived.

After retiring from her first career of training guide dogs for the visually impaired and deaf-blind to become a full-time mom, Kristen was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer in stage 4 on March 18, 2003 -- her 30th birthday.  For the next 10 years, Kristen was dedicated to helping families navigate life-threatening illnesses, beginning with her own children.  She wrote A Train's Rust, A Toy Maker's Love to communicate about illness and death with her then four-year-old daughter Ashlea, two-year-old son Luke, and seven-month-old daughter Rebecca.  She wrote another book for children and one for adults about her experiences.  Kristen also was a poised speaker who shared her story with audiences around the United States and internationally.

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Meet the Tripps

Russ Tripp and his 27-year-old son, Jeremiah, are active members of the Inheritance of Hope community. Jeremiah has volunteered at three Legacy Retreats®, and Russ gives testimonies at IoH events. Both say Inheritance of Hope has deeply impacted their own lives, inspiring them to volunteer and share the experience with others.

The year 2010 was challenging for the Tripp family. Anne, Russ’s wife and Jeremiah’s mother, was diagnosed with stage III lung cancer in February. The disease had already metastasized,

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Meet the Fortins

When the Fortin family from North Carolina -- Steve, Maureen, and their three children -- attended the Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat® at Disney World in January 2011, Steve was in good health.

“He often says he feels funny because he was the healthiest sick person there,” Maureen said.

Steve uses a prosthetic leg after an amputation due to a sarcoma tumor.

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Meet the Contis

The Conti family of New York still looks at their photo album from the Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat at Disney World in January 2011.

“I’ve even looked at it just recently,” said Angela, 45. “We still cry over it, but it’s happy tears now because my husband just found out not too long ago that he’s completely cancer free.”

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Meet the Lanhams

Larry Lanham, his wife, Michelle, and daughters Madison and Maggie raise sheep and cattle on their 38-acre farm in Corbin, Kentucky. Larry has worked the same job providing housing for the elderly for 26 years. However, the last five years have been anything but stable for the Lanham family.

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Meet the Felkers

Before last summer, neither 17-year-old Seth nor his 13-year-old sister, Mandie, had ever been on an airplane. Yet in June of last year, the entire Felker family from Alliance, a small town in northwest Nebraska, boarded a plane to Disney World in Orlando, where they enjoyed a Legacy Retreat unlike their usual family road trips in the Midwest.

“Believe it or not, this was the first family vacation we’ve ever had,” said Mark, father of the four Felker children.

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Meet the Blevins

The Blevinses are made of tough stuff.

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